Hi. My name is Matthew, and I am a "toxic" saint. I struggle with my faith [love] at times, and my head (I ask hard questions) sometimes too. Sometimes I struggle more than I love.
I came here simply to keep my mind (and my typing finger) active. I am not "lonely" because I have a wonderful wife who loves me (she is my best friend), two girls, and we are also in the process of adopting. I think my self-esteem is pretty good most days. I am a stay-at-home dad.
My true desire is to simply have an intelligent conversation about my life, my experiences, my faith [love], and my sometimes lack thereof. It's nice having someone to "bounce" things off of during the day... that is a little older than seven. My evenings and weekends are usually pretty full. I'll talk about anything. I have a cat, a dog, a car, a truck, a house, kids, a wife, guns, and have had 4 RVs. I like pizza and I don't like most veggies. 8^) "Gun control" is being able to hit your target.
I like to talk with folks that can share without feeling compelled to "get me told" go all religious on me. I have lost two children. NOTE: If you like to debate, I can do that ...but it tends to make me quite aggressive and blunt in my writing style. Moniti estis!
That being said, I will not delete this topic if you make me angry, hurt my feelings, disagree with me, don't take what I say as The Gospel, reject my advice, don't want my prayers (see below), or even if you make me cry. 8^) I expect the same.
That being said, my IQ is 137. I hold a BA in Criminal Justice (I know, it should be Criminal Punishment or Victim's Justice) and a minor in Sociology. For the record, I think Freud was half nuts. I changed my minor from psychology to sociology for that reason. I tend to think like a lawyer. I come from an educated, christian background. I like short sentences. 6^)
Attack my ideology if you like, but not me personally. If you think that you are God's gift of revelation/teaching, you will probably grow to hate me (which is fine by me). However, you can save me some time (and a red finger). Simply hate me now (I'm toxic) and go talk to someone somewhere else. 8^)
More about me? I have two "learning" disabilities, ADHD (can you tell) and dyslexia. However, I still know how to read The Bible for myself (with a fondness for the NA 26/27 Interlinear). I also know how to think for myself. I probably WILL NOT believe anything you say that The Bible says, unless it really does ...within The Writings "best evidence" context (and I do check everything).
Best evidence... "as close to the original as possible."
Because I can read, I am also aware that The Bible contains glosses. I am also aware that there is ongoing work to try and determine what the original text was. I am also aware that there are thousands of discrepancies, and that the original text is lost. What we have is only close. Look it up and see for yourself.
I'm much more concerned with how Jesus lived His life, than what is recorded that the apostles and disciples did after He left. I try and follow him, not them.
I will NOT believe that you hear God's voice every minute of every day. I used to think I did, and it lead to personal pride and [almost] the destruction of my life. Therefore, I will not receive any "word" you speak into my life. Jesus is The Word that I am interested in, and I have already received Him. 6^)
You are NOT welcome to pray for me ...unless you ask first, and I agree. I promise I will never "pray" for you (you know what I'm talking about). I totally reject those type of prayers. 8^P
Hi. My name is Matthew, and I am a "toxic" imperfect saint. PLEASE DO NOT reply to this post ...unless you think you can handle that. I always have Netflix. 8^)
My limited experience has been mixed.
My 1st experience with a house church was with the "pastor" of one in Ocean Springs MS. Our IC was looking for a pastor and he submitted his resume. He ended up spending a year (2005) with us. His home church had a web site FirstCenturyChristianFellowship. He had a group meeting in his house plus satelite groups in Mobile and in Pensacola. At one point he commented that the house church had the same problems as the traditional church. I got the impression that he had participated in a Southern Baptists house church pilot that was dropped. I think that this was a big church meeting in houses and as best as I can tell, it withered after he left.
Time marched on and I started looking for house churches on the internet. I found several listed around me but was only able to contact one of them in Gulfport MS. I met with them once, before moving 45 minutes farther from Gulfport. It seemed that one fellow was visably the leader, but he tried not to dominate the group. It seemed that their mindset was more house church then big church. They were able to put me in touch with a house church in Ocean Springs. By this time the Gulfport house church had closed and a few of them went into the Ocean Springs group.
I made contact with two more "house" churches, one in Ocean Springs and one in Mobile. Both of these were big church want-to-be's. Meeting in the house was simply a low cost way to start, The leaders of both of these groups wanted them to become big churches.
Somewhere in this journey (2010), I Ioosely associated with the 1st Ocean Springs house church. I was able to connect with them via FaceBook and only occasionaly attended a house meeting. It seems that the leader of this group wants it to be mostly a social activity.
At this point, I'm drifting along and trying to figure out "Where do I go from Here?" I might also mention that my wife isn't interested in a house church.
I am from down in your neck of the woods. I was born in Georgia and raised in Arkansas. I have also lived in the Destin area, and in Alabama. This is where I usually go off on a Yankee rant. 8^)
I share your pain. Everything I have ever been involved with looks almost nothing like Jesus. We [as a christian culture] are so accustomed to having a "pastor" stand up and "feed" us once a week, that we have forgotten that Jesus said that The Gospel is SIMPLE. Something about coming as a child comes to mind...
My Interlinear studies lead me back to a simple Gospel, and a simple Jesus. It also gave me the knowledge I often need to back off the "well meaning" church goer. Other than that, I find no real use for all of that study. But I digress...
Anyway, I have heard tons of stuff on how we should "return to the example of the early church" ...which totally ignores how Jesus walked. My question is simply, "What about returning to Jesus?"
So I went back to Him, and Him alone. I find he is impressed when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, and that kind of simple stuff. I also found that He was less than impressed with those who claim to prophesy, cast out demons, and do "mighty works" in His name.
THAT'S was NOT taught in my church!!!
So where to go? I guess right out our own front doors. The Yankee thing makes that more of a challenge up here. 8^) But I found a friend brother in a "non-christian" simply because I helped him move into his house. My wife has found a sister simply because she was nice to a neighbor lady... and she has become a GREAT blessing to us in return as well. I picked up several true blessings along the way (even in church). A couple of extra "sons" and an extra "daughter" or two as well.
It's not a congregation of thousands. No one falls back when I take my coat off and whiff it in their direction (unless I need a bath really REALLY bad). But I'm having to kinda re-invent Jesus in my own heart and life as I go. What I had WASN'T Him!
I saw the trailer for the movie and hope to watch the whole thing.
Matthew G. Parker said:
It is very interesting [to me at least] that there are guys out there that are "raised" in church, still love Jesus, but can make a movie called "Beware of Christians." There is another movie (that I have seen) that is called "Lord, Save Us from Your Followers." I really enjoyed that movie (Netflix currently has it online streaming).
I guess what stands out in my mind is that more and more... people that love Jesus, hate christian behavior. They also hate going to a church.
I just happen to believe that there is a justified, God honoring REASON for this! Don't get me wrong, I think the church has its place. I simply think we should be honest, and call it "Christian Country Club" and knock off the lecture bit.
...as for myself, I'm not into going to country clubs anyway. 8^P
Wow.....I blinked and a week flew by.....
First, on this Yankee thing, FYI.... My wife is from Biloxi, so we're in Biloxi, but I'm mostly a yankee from Detroit.
You wrote that "Everything I have ever been involved with looks almost nothing like Jesus". Gandhi said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ". Over the last several years, I have increasingly felt surrounded by "false brethern". One of the "house" churches that I looked at was a few disgruntled Church of Christ people. As I talked to their leader, I saw how hard they were trying to follow the NT model and it seemed that they were hung up on the "act, say, appear" thing. As we talked, It struck me that they were trying to look, walk, & quack like a duck with the expectation that then they would be a duck......or a Christian?
Ah, I have found that the term Yankee (for me at least) tends to show attitude, not original residence. To me "stuck-up and rude" equals Yankee. When I first moved "up north" the only difference I could find was that they sounded more intelligent (y`all knows wha-tiz I'z talkin' `bout) and they knew instantly that "I wasn't from around there."
At first, I never met one rude person...
My second place of residence however, was a totally different story altogether!!! I finally told a neighbor, "The reason there are so many rude folks up here, is because not enough folks carry shotguns in their trucks." 8^)
I have also found (I am sad to say) that there are a multiplicity of "red-necks" up here, which was a real shocker for me. I thought I'd left all of the "ignorant bigots" behind! So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm toxic ...but I'm not Yankee or red-neck toxic! 8^)
The first time I took one of my northern friends down south, they walked around with a confused look on their face. They finally asked me, "Do you know all of these people!?!" 8^)
This topic is so "ON" in a funny sort of way! I wrote tons of "spiritual" stuff, then deleted it all. I guess all I have is another question or three really...
We (this and past generations) have been so "quacked" ...I simply wonder if we won't have to all die off for things to change? You know, let the "kids" have it? I mean, I wonder how Moses felt, knowing that he was the one keeping the children of Israel from their promised land?
What say you?
First, let me say that it sounds like your yankie friend might have asked.... Are you related to all of these people?
As to your questions, dying off dosen't sound like the answer. It seems to me that God has been known to just move on. God chose Israel, then moved on to the Gentiles. Now, if Wolfgang Simpson is right, God has moved on again to the Far East.
The quote was exact. Notice that I said that it was "one of my northern friends." I didn't say "a Yankee" went with me. 8^)
Maybe you are correct. However, for God to "move on" doesn't that imply that He was [here]? LOL!!!
I never said that. 6^)
Let me go back to your 3/13 post, where you said that "
I'm having to kinda re-invent Jesus in my own heart and life as I go". I'd like to pursue that thought.
After hurricane Katrina, I happened upon a small booklet titled "The Ruler of the Waves" by JC Ryle (1816-1900) . It was published by Chapel Library in Pensacola, www.mountzion.org. The booklet started off with Mark 4:37-40 where Jesus "...said unto the sea, Peace, be still..." from which the title was derived. The 1st few pages spoke to me and I've reproduced them here:
It would be well if professing Christians in modern days studied the four gospels more than they do. No doubt all Scripture is profitable. It is not wise to exalt one part of the Bible at the expense of another. But I think it should be good for some who are very familiar with the Epistles, if they knew a little more about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Now why do I say this? I say it because I want professing Christians to know more about Christ. It is well to be acquainted with all the doctrines and principles of Christianity. It is better to be acquainted with Christ Himself. It is well to be familiar with faith, and grace, and justification, and sanctification. They are all matters "pertaining to the King." But it is far better to be familiar with Jesus Himself, to see the King's own face, and to behold His beauty. This is one secret of eminent holiness. He that would be conformed to Christ's image, and become a Christ-like man, must be constantly studying Christ Himself.
Now the Gospels were written to make us acquainted with Christ. The Holy Ghost has told us the story of His life and death--His sayings and His doings, four times over. Four different, inspired hands have drawn the picture of the Saviour, His ways, His manners, His feelings, His wisdom, His grace, His patience, His love, His power, are graciously unfolded to us by four different wittnesses. Ought not the sheep be familiar with the Shepherd? Ought not the patient to be familiar with the Physician? Ought not the bride to be familiar with the Bridegroom? Ought not the sinner to be familiar with the Saviour? Beyond doubt it ought to be so. The Gospels were written to make men familiar with Christ, and therefore I wish men to study the Gospels.
On whom must we build our souls if we would be accepted with God? We must build on the Rock, Christ. From who must we draw that grace of the Spirit which we daily need in order to be fruitful? We must draw from the Vine, Christ. To whom must we look for sympathy when earthly friends fail us or die? We must look to our elder Brother, Christ. By whom must our prayers be presented, if they are to be heard on high? They must be presented by our advocate, Christ. With whom do we hope to spend the thousand years of glory, and the after eternity? With the King of kings, Christ. Surely we cannot know this Christ too well! Surely there is not a word, nor a deed, nor a day, nor a step, nor a thought in the record of His life, which ought not to be precious to us. We should labor to be familiar with every line that is written about Jesus.
This exerpt from JC Ryle, is kind of lengthy, but I'd like to draw my mission statement from it. I might pick the last sentence to describe my mission as to..... "Become familiar with every line that was written about Jesus". I like this, but it seems to be missing something. Perhaps if I added a phrase from the 2nd paragraph......"in order to be conformed to Christ's image".
What do you think?
Wow! That's pretty much my conclusion as well. I mean it really is good to see how the early church started and finished. It is even better to see how Jesus did. He was much less complex!
I guess the problem then must be (since this idea has obviously been around for so long) that following Jesus' example would undermine the church as a business.
I mean, a flat tax is a wonderful idea. They do that here in PA. Every year, I owe nothing and I get nothing back. But the Government has this huge monstrosity called the IRS that employs around 93000 people. What would happen to all of them if we simply paid a flat tax? (I say send them to guard our boarders!)
So there is this huge organization called the church. There are schools, colleges, grad schools, employees, and willing attendees. Almost all of those people get some form of satisfaction/power/appeasement/fellowship, by being involved in church. The huge structure would completely fall apart if we all went back to just following Jesus. I mean, He only had twelve or so consistent followers... and He was an overachiever! 8^)
So there is sits. Get all dressed up, smile, pay a tithe, go to confession (for some), listen to nice "spiritual" music, listen to a talk given by a "professional," take communion, pretend to read, study, pray. Say amen. All of these things allow for a culture of no true responsibility built over a façade of being Christlike.
Well, that's what I think, anyway...
I wanted to follow thru on your comment about "a culture of no true responsibility" with an illustration that Steven Covey used in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I took the book off the shelf and started thumbing thru looking for it. Most of my books are liberally highlighted, but there were no highlights in this book. There was an envelope bookmark that was in the way and I moved it farther ahead to get it out of the way. I thought the illustration was early in the book and I wasn't finding it. So I resorted to the index and it turned out to be right where I had moved the envelope to. Just coincidence? I wonder.....
At any rate the illustration starts on page 175 and wraps up on page 178. It describes the interaction between Covey and his seven year old son after his son volunteered to take care of the yard. After the illustration he talks about trust and stewardship delegation. I find that it also parallels the interaction between God & man. The old covenant was classic micro-management. The new covenant relies on trust and being responsible. In the illustration the charge was to keep the lawn "Clean and Green". God's charge to us is equally simple and we know it as the Golden Rule.